Four new works commissioned by Liaison of Independent Filmmakers Toronto (LI FT) and Reel Asian, and presented at the Blackwood Gallery and A Space Gallery.
Co-Curators: Ben Donoghue and Heather Keung
Donoghue and Keung began discussions in 2008 about possible collaborations using LIFT’s archive of 35mm Hong Kong films from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, recovered by Colin Geddes from the basement of what is now Toronto’s Royal Theatre. The collection includes period dramas, comedies, martial arts, and pink films. All the prints in the collection are incomplete and in various stages of decay and discolouration.
Artists were invited to produce new works that could challenge the source material and break with overtly didactic collage-based composition. Emerging from this are four projects by contemporary Asian-Canadian artists that challenge cinematic narrative, locational identity, movement, and technologies. With the generous support of a commissioning grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, the following projects that began as concepts borne from the shelves of decaying film have finally emerged, fresh and vital, in their exhibition spaces.
– Ben Donoghue
Never A Foot Too Far, Even
Daïchi Saïto | Canada 2011 | 2 x 16mm Projection Loops
Appropriating a brief fragment from a 35mm print of a 1970s kung fu film, Never a Foot Too Far, Even creates an action movie without action. Presented as a double projection with two 16mm film projectors and loopers, the chemically and optically manipulated images are overlaid to form a single composition. Focusing on an obscure figure caught between perpetual motion and stasis, the painterly images fluctuate in a complex shifting of colour and texture, phasing in and out through a polymetric structure. The installation also features a new audio composition by Malcolm Goldstein.
Montreal-based Japanese filmmaker Daïchi Saïto has exhibited in numerous venues worldwide. His work explores the relation between the corporeal phenomena of vision and the material nature of the medium, fusing a formal investigation of frame and juxtaposition with sensual and poetic expressions.
Yokai & Other Spirits
Cindy Mochizuki | Canada 2011 | HD Video, Glass Case, Fog Machine, Telephone
Paranormal phenomena are common in Asian films, literature, and popular culture. In Japanese folklore, for instance, yokai are a class of supernatural creatures that often shape-shift and play tricks on humans. This interactive, animated, and sound-based installation repeats a key moment in the 35mm film Happy Ghost 3, when the lead ghost calls “home” through various phone booths throughout the city. The animated projection is an accumulation of hand-traced frames of the original film through rotoscoping. The film explores the interiority of the archive and, like an X-ray print, uses light as a means to make visible what we cannot normally see. This work uses the presence of audience members to trigger the projections and sounds; without their actions, the film lies unseen and unheard, leaving only the stark presence of the scenic and museological props.
With sound design by Antoine Bédard, programming and electronics by Bobbi Kozinuk, and construction design by Minoru Yamamoto.
Cindy Mochizuki is an interdisciplinary artist with a practice that moves across several forms, including drawing, animation, multimedia, and performance. Her body of work explores cultural memory and experimental narratives that play with the space of the documentary and the imagined. She lives and works in Vancouver.
Louise Noguchi | Canada 2011 | 3 x HD Video
Louise Noguchi’s three-channel video installation, Snake’s Shadow, fills three walls with an intricately executed sequence of dance and motion composed from high-definition scans of 35mm CinemaScope action films. These archetypal fragments of fight scenes are recomposed with a newly commissioned soundtrack into a dizzying mix of movement and light. The work is divided into four acts across three channels, assembling a sequence of pivotal moments without an end. Noguchi writes of the work: “Maybe having to accept real endings and loss, as opposed to staged drama, which is seductive, is what viewers may perceive of the sequencing; although, others may have another reaction to the ending.”
Toronto-born Louise Noguchi works in video, photography, sculpture, and other media. Noguchi’s concepts confront the spectators’ notions of identity, perception, and reality. Her recent videos have examined tourist locations and key monuments of her Canadian and ancestral histories in terms of cultural memory and experience.
Officer Tuba Meets The Happy Ghost
soJin Chun | Canada 2011 | HD Video, Lightbox
soJin Chun combines characters appropriated from two Hong Kong films and digitally rotoscopes them into contemporary Super 8mm film footage shot in São Paulo, and Toronto. Pulled from their Hong Kong settings, these characters are recast as Koreans, playing with western perceptions of Asian identity. The ruptures and continuity of culture within diasporic communities frame these figures displaced in time, space, language, and culture. Chun builds a small cinema within the gallery, complete with illuminated film poster, but the physical form of the cinema—its narrative conventions, framing, and representative structure—is broken.
soJin Chun is a photo and video artist based in Toronto. Her work demonstrates narratives from diasporic positioning, exploring the fluid nature of identity within a place. Her work has exhibited internationally, including in the United States, Serbia, Mexico, England, France, Argentina, and Bolivia.